Agent is back! For those
who don’t know, Agent is a combination mail/newsreader, and it’s one of the
most delightful and powerful software programs I’ve ever run. Agent had multithreading, for example, well ahead of Microsoft Outlook. I could read and respond to messages at the same time that Agent was downloading and uploading them. It was, and is, a great product.
I go way
back with Agent, having begun with version 0.99 in I’m not sure what year,
but perhaps 1994 or 1995. Agent was developed by a company called Forte, which
was acquired in 1998 by a company known as Genesys, which bought Forte for other
reasons and didn’t care about Agent. Thus, Agent almost died off, and it would
have been a real tragedy for the world to lose such a well-crafted piece of
Even today, Agent is a very capable email client, and it’s still the best newsreader
I know of for the Windows platform, or perhaps for any operating-system. I moved
away from Agent, to use The
Bat!, only because of a need to deal with two email accounts. Agent didn’t
do multiple accounts. I gave my Agent license to my wife after she got hit with
an Outlook payload, and she’s had not a lick of trouble with malware in the
year and a half since.
Agent is, in a small way, responsible for my writing career. When a SAMS Publishing
editor first contacted me by email in 1997 about writing a book, I took the
note to be spam and deleted it. Two days later I thought better, pulled the
note back out of my "Trash" folder, and made the phone call that changed
the course of my life. Had it not been for Agent’s Trash folder, I’d, well,
I just hate to think about how close a call that was.
In 2001, Agent’s original authors got back together, bought back the rights
to their creation, and began planning for Agent 2.0, which entered beta on November
13 this year. To my delight, and I’m sure that of thousands of Agent users,
the 2.0 version will support multiple email accounts, and even multiple news
servers. I can’t wait to see what else has been added. Kudos to Agent’s authors
for their tenacity in breathing life back into such a wonderful and useful product.